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How does alcohol abuse affect diabetes?

If you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels are on target, it is generally safe to drink alcohol occasionally. However you may have an alcohol abuse problem if you drink too much or have trouble controlling how much alcohol you drink.

Alcohol abuse is even more dangerous for people with diabetes. Many diabetes complications—including nerve damage, eye problems, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease—can worsen with excessive alcohol use. Long-term alcohol abuse can interfere with how you take care of your diabetes.

Alcoholism and the Liver

Alcohol abuse is especially hard on the liver, where your body stores glucose. If your liver is damaged by alcohol, your blood glucose levels may become erratic, and you are more likely to have hypoglycemia.

Ending alcohol abuse can be very difficult, but it is crucial for many reasons, including your diabetes care. If you have a problem with alcohol, or think you might have a problem, there is help available to you. Talk to your pro­vider, or call your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Your health care team can help you find the treatment you need to begin the path to recovery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.